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Understanding Root Canals


Are you concerned that you may need a root canal? If so, you have plenty of company. According to the American Association of Endodontists, “Millions of teeth are treated and saved each year with root canal, or endodontic treatment.” Endodontic treatment addresses issues inside the tooth (the part that contains the pulp), which is made up of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue.

Typically, a root canal (endodontic treatment) becomes necessary when the pulp inside the tooth becomes inflamed and infected. What causes such an infection? It can be brought on by tooth decay, a crack or chip in the tooth itself, or by multiple dental procedures on the same tooth. Also, if the tooth was injured, it can lead to pulp damage, even if one cannot see any chips or cracks in the tooth, and even if the injury is invisible to the naked eye.

Signs a Root Canal is Needed

How can you tell that you may need a root canal or endodontic treatment? Here are some of the signs to look out for:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration
  • Prolonged sensitivity to heat
  • Prolonged sensitivity to cold
  • Tender to the touch
  • Tender when chewing

While the above symptoms are common when someone has an infected and inflamed pulp tissue, sometimes there are no symptoms.

Saving the Tooth With a Root Canal

Root canals can save people’s teeth; with a root canal, the infected or inflamed pulp is carefully removed. From there, the endodontist cleans the inside of the root canal and fills and seals the area. Once the procedure is over, a dentist molds a crown to fit over the tooth. With the new crown being fitted, the tooth is restored to its full function.

“Does it hurt to have a root canal?” Often, root canals are performed to relieve patients from toothaches caused by infected and inflamed pulp. Fortunately, most patients are comfortable throughout the procedure thanks to modern anesthetics and other pain-relieving methods.

Generally, it’s more cost-effective to have a root canal than it is to have a tooth extracted. When a tooth is extracted, it should be replaced by an implant or bridge so the patient can chew normally and so the other teeth won’t shift. Root canals and restorations are typically less expensive than implants and bridges, so they are an ideal option.

If you are experiencing a tooth ache, contact us today for a free consultation with Mark Weitzman, D.D.S., who’s been rated as a Top Dentist in Ventura County.

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